iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, September 14, 2013
Indian channels continued to remain blocked in Nepal on Friday following a protest call by a Maoist faction over Zee TV’s claim that Buddha was born in India. The All Nepal Revolutionary Cine Worker Association, associated with Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, had urged cable operators to block all Indian channels for 24 hours starting 8:00 am on Friday.

Protesting against Zee TV’s claim in its serial ‘Buddha’ that the founder of Buddhism was born in India, the association has also called for an indefinite ban on the channel.

“If we self-respecting Nepalis don’t oppose such naked Indian expansionism then it could threaten our national honour and dignity,” the association stated in a release.

Though nearly two dozen entertainment channels remained off air other Indian channels based on news, movies, music and religious discourse remained unaffected.

The first episode of the serial ‘Buddha’ telecast on Sunday was blocked across Nepal by over 300 cable operators for fears of hurting sentiments of millions of Nepali viewers.

In its website promoting the serial Zee TV had claimed Buddha was born in India. Actor Kabir Bedi who is part of the serial had also made the same mistake in a promotional programme.

Historical records state Buddha was born in Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal. Even Unesco has accepted this fact while granting world heritage site status to Lumbini. Following widespread outrage, both the channel and Bedi accepted their mistake and apologised.